TMFWP Special: Live From The Helm, Vol. 3

Mamma Coal celebrated the release of her widely anticipated album “Raven Haired Vixen” with a visit to The Helm. That’s 2016 Oregon Music Hall of Fame inductee Paul Brainard riding shotgun. Photo by Anne Marie for Local Hero Media (www.localheromedia.com).

Stream or download Live From The Helm, Vol. 3:  Live From The Helm Vol. 3

There were a lot of things about 2016 we’d like to forget — it was a year of staggering losses for both the music world and the great wide world in general. Still, our team at That Much Further West Podcast had much to be thankful for, namely the incredible roster of guests we hosted at The Helm for podcast episodes this year.

From start to finish, this year marked a great leap forward for the podcast. The team decided to narrow the focus, dedicating the entirety of each episode to our individual guests. That way we learned more about their histories, their influences, their hopes and dreams and their immediate plans for the future. All celebrated remarkable successes this year and we were happy to promote their fine work and proud to host them in our subterranean home in Portland — The Helm!

Nick Foltz of Lowlight added his usual heavy dose of cool to The Helm scene in 2016. Photo by Anne Marie for Local Hero Media (www.localheromedia.com).

We were pleased to rope in some more out-of-towners this year, including Seattle’s Evening Bell and national acts John Moreland and Aaron Lee Tasjan. We also were thrilled to highlight the great work being down by local longtime friends like Mamma Coal, Nick Foltz of Lowlight and Birger Olsen. We even made some great new friends in Kory Quinn and Taylor Kingman of the Hill Dogs, and hooked up with local legends such as Willy Vlautin of Richmond Fontaine and the mighty Fernando. All were incredibly inspiring to the team.

Still, 2016 will be remembered for our many musical losses, one big electoral loss and another that’s particularly personal to our team. We said goodbye the father of our Hoot, our friend Chuck Noland, a loss that proved particularly devastating. That’s why we wrap up “Live From The Helm, Vol. 3” with a beautiful tribute to Chuck by Maria Francis and Jeff Overbo of Silver Lake 66. In a year full of tears, there wasn’t a dry eye in The Helm during that performance.

But as we reflect on the past year before turning the calendar page, enjoy this collection of songs we proudly share here with you. We’ll see you in 2017!

Here’s the playlist:

Memphis Rain, Aaron Lee Tasjan
Our Horse Barn, Kris Stuart
Ride Through The Night, Mamma Coal
Three Brothers Roll Into Town, Willy Vlautin
In The Shadow Of The Tower Of Babel, Kory Quinn
Devil’s House, Evening Bell
A Lovely Conversation, The Harmed Brothers
Life Of The Party, Stars Of Cascadia
You Look As Sweet, Birger Olsen
Mother Mountain, The Hill Dogs
Bloodlines, Lowlight
This Very Hour, McDougall
Wasted And Waiting My Saturday Night, Lewi & Anita
Late Bloomer, Matthew Lindley
True Instigator, Fernando
Walk Away, Silver Lake 66

Our podcast hosts, at home in The Helm, left to right: Mike Lee, Eric Kotila and Phil Favorite.

Episode #71 featuring Birger Olsen

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The Quiet Man: Birger Olsen. Photo courtesy of Mama Bird Recording Co.

Stream or download Episode #71:   Episode 71 w/ Birger Olsen

They don’t make ’em like they used to. Truer words were never spoken, or in this case sung by Birger Olsen, the quiet and steady guitarist from the band Denver who explores his smokey blues side on a new six-song solo record, “The Lights Just Buzz.”

Birger stopped by The Helm to share some stories and songs and promote the new release for Episode #71 of That Much Further West Podcast.

Listening the new record, it’s easy to understand why it’s creating such a strong early buzz in the Americana scene. Birger taps into a mysterious, bluesy vein he says has long been at the root of his musical foundation, revealing the influence that several of his musical heroes have had on his writing — artists like Taj Mahal, Lyle Lovett and Ry Cooder.

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Rainier beer and smokey blues: Birger Olsen live in The Helm.

On this episode, Birger talks about his decision to record the six songs on the new release with the help of musical partner Ben Nugent, who guided the recording process and added a few special touches to help him convey a sort of nightclub vibe — a music noir if you will — that oozes from the record. He also speaks of his musical upbringing and how he first got into playing country music only after arriving in Portland, and how he formed Denver with a few of his musical pals in his adopted hometown.

Birger also shares of a couple of gem-like live solo acoustic performances from the new record: the title cut, and another called “Slow Bone.”

On June 30, Birger will be celebrating his record release with a show at Mississippi Studios in Portland along with Kele Goodwin and the rest of Denver. To pre-order “The Lights Just Buzz,” due in stores later this week, visit the dedicated Mama Bird Recording Co. page. Also, watch for Birger at the annual Americana Music Association festival in Nashville in September.

In the meantime, dial up the podcast and give it a spin! Here’s the playlist for Episode #71:

The Lights Just Buzz, Birger Olsen
You Look As Sweet (Live In The Helm), Birger Olsen
Sweet Mama Janisse, Taj Mahal
God Will, Lyle Lovett
Tattler, Ry Cooder
Bird In The Morning Dew, Denver
Sammyville, Denver
Rabbit Dancing, Denver
Slow Bone (Live In The Helm), Birger Olsen
Hummin’, Birger Olsen

May Podcast Picks

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Austin Lucas, coming to a town near you soon.

Stream or download Podcast Picks: May Podcast Picks

Austin Lucas has one of those pure country voices that makes your ears stand at attention. Apply the voice to the terrific songs he writes and it’s no surprise Austin has long been a favorite of That Much Further West Podcast, where we’ve been sharing his songs from the start.

Now, with a fantastic new album out called “Between The Moon & The Midwest,” the hardworking Mr. Lucas is ready once again to take his show on the road. He’ll be launching a tour later this month with Adam Faucett and Portland’s Fernando that will sweep through Texas and the Southwest before covering California and the Pacific Northwest. They’ll be at the Doug Fir Lounge in Portland on June 8.

One of the cuts from the new album, titled “Wrong Side Of The Dream,” features the inimitable Lydia Loveless and kicks off our Podcast Picks for May. It’s a bittersweet song about being stuck on the road and away too long from the one you love, written from both sides of the sad story. Washed in steel guitar, the song is a perfect way to launch into this month’s podcast picks, which feature more tales of bad-boy brothers, wild sailors, weekend hell raisers and troubadours ready to hit the road.

We’re especially stoked to share a song from our Australian friend Matthew Colin, who recently hit us with a stunning set of new demos. Hearing “Coyote,” you’ll quickly understand why we’re big fans of Matthew and his music.

We also have songs from the hot new albums by Sturgill Simpson, Richmond Fontaine and Margo Price along with a few of our local favorites such as Drunken Prayer, Hearts of Oak and Quiet Life. And we wrap things up first with a birthday salute to Mr. Willie Nelson and a tune from the band Denver sung by Birger Olsen, whose solo debut album is due in June. We’re hoping to bring Birger into The Helm for a formal podcast episode in advance of the new record, but until then, enjoy some great music as selected by our podcast team.

Here’s the playlist for May Podcast Picks:

Wrong Side Of The Dream, Austin Lucas (featuring Lydia Loveless)
Sea Stories, Sturgill Simpson
Three Brothers Roll Into Town, Richmond Fontaine
Low Down Soul, The Deslondes
Weekender, Margo Price
Hellraiser, Drunken Prayer
Used To It, Hearts Of Oak
Time Until, Quiet Life
Coyote, Matthew Colin
Keweenaw Flower, The Lowest Pair
My Leavin’, Luther Dickinson
On The Road Again, Willie Nelson
Sammyville, Denver

Episode #41 featuring Denver

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Birger Olsen, left, and Mike Elias barside at The Helm. (Photo by Christopher Sohler)

Episode #41 with Denver

When it comes to alt-country in our hometown of Portland, OR, U.S.A., it doesn’t get much better than the band Denver. That’s why we were thrilled to have Mike Elias and Birger Olsen from Denver in The Helm for Episode #41.

Known as two of Denver’s “three amigos,” Mike and Birger are carrying the torch locally for the band while the other amigo, singer/songwriter Tom Bevitori, has taken up residence in California. The group continues to forge ahead, with the great friends hooking up with the rest of their band for select shows throughout the year.

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Mike and Birger of Denver perform in The Helm, January 2015. (Photo by Christopher Sohler)

In our interview, the fellas talk about how the band formed, their tours with alt-country darlings Shovels & Rope, what brought them to Portland from their growing-up points far and wide, and the Denver side project, Maryanne. Also, the guys share a song from each of Denver’s two stellar albums: Mike’s “Rowdy Love,” the title cut from last year’s follow up to the self-titled debut; and Birger’s great “Keep Your Eye Out,” a Denver classic.

After wrapping up the interview, Mike and Birger hung around The Helm to enjoy the rest of the episode. Then Mike got a wild hair to do another song later in the show, one that’s brand new and untitled. Great stuff!

Meanwhile, our hosts Mike Lee, Phil Favorite and Eric Kotila each share a set of songs to round out the podcast. Mike’s set includes a tribute to Hank Williams to honor the recent anniversary of his death; Phil shared a song by one of his heroes, Walter Salas-Humara, who he recently caught up with at a local happy hour show; and Eric’s set features bands “I’d like to see play with Denver,” including The Swearengens, The Ganges River Band and the James Low Western Front.

We also have songs by Denver’s Mama Bird Recording Co. labelmate Hip Hatchet as well as The Easy Leaves, Drunken Prayer and a song from the new record by Ryan Bingham. So dial it in and kick back, y’all. It’s Episode #41 of That Much Further West Podcast.

Here’s the playlist:

Rowdy Love, Denver
Prison Song (Live in The Helm), Denver
Keep Your Eye Out (Live in The Helm), Denver
Hot Denver #1, Denver
White Trash Romance, Karen Jonas
Ramblin’ Man, Hank Williams
Still Drunk, Still Crazy, Scott H. Biram
Small Demons, Hip Hatchet
Quarter In The Couch, Damnations, TX
Ford Econoline, Chuck Prophet
Broken Heart Tattoos, Ryan Bingham
Penny, The Honeycutters
Crack Another Bottle, The Easy Leaves
What We Can Bring, Walter Salas-Humara
Waiting On The Sunrise, The Swearengens
Eyes of Fire, The Ganges River Band
Untitled (Live in The Helm), Denver
Words, The James Low Western Front
Bridle On A Bull, Chris Knight
Evangeline, Drunken Prayer